In 1989, five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem were arrested for brutally beating and raping a white woman in New York City's Central Park. The police announced to a press hungry for sensational crime stories that the young men had been part of a gang of teenagers who were out "wilding," assaulting joggers and bicyclists that evening. The ensuing media frenzy was met with a public outcry for justice. New York Mayor Ed Koch called it the "crime of the century" and it remains to date one of the biggest media stories of our time. Each of the five suspects spent 6 to 13 years in prison before a shocking confession from a serial rapist and DNA evidence proved their innocence. Set against a backdrop of a decaying city beset by violence and racial tension, The Central Park Five tells the story of how five lives were upended by the rush to judgment by police, a sensationalist media and a devastating miscarriage of justice.
Written and directed by Ken Burns (The Civil War, Jazz, The Dust Bowl), David McMahon and Sarah Burns.